Scale: The Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies
Geoffrey West's research centres on a quest to find unifying principles and patterns connecting everything, from cells and ecosystems to cities, social networks and businesses.
Scale addresses big, urgent questions about global sustainability, population explosion, urbanization, ageing, cancer, human lifespans and the increasing pace of life, but also encourages us to...more
The scaling laws themselves are fascinating. In the very first chapter, Geoffrey ...more
This is probably going to be the longest review I have ever written because this is, without question, one of the most important books I have ever read and is an essential read ...more
Why can we live up to 120 years, but not 1,000? (laws of Thermodynamics)
Why do mice live for up to 2 to 3 years, and elephants live up to 75? (laws of Thermodynamics)
Why do organisms and ecosystems from cells to whales to forests scale with size in a predictable fashion? (Underlying universal math principles of ...more
Noted physicist, former director of the Santa Fe Institute, and expositor of complexity theory Geoffrey West introduces several concepts of physics, biology, urban development, ...more
I like how physicists are looking at this world. I sympathise totally with their practical approach and attempts to ...more
This is one of those "what's it all about Alfie" books. But far, far better than most of them are. It is an interdisciplinary approach, strong on the physics. But includes so much of other philosophies or psychology of ...more
Remarkably, here Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist, took a scientific and ...more
False data. One of his introductory graphs is of company size vs. income. Shows income near $1 million/year for a 1-person company. If true, we'd all do it. For his fraction-of-people-surviving-this-long-vs.-age graphs, he gives us a smooth curve, then a stairstep one, for the same thing--he wants to identify supposed causes of death, so he redraws the curve to fit what he wants to say. Early in the book there's a plot showing all animals have essentially 1 billion ...more
One issue is the human lifespan stuff. We live longer than cows (for example) but ...more
Fawning descriptions of people the author has worked with and a general humble brag style of writing.
Excessive use of pretentious words like 'concomitant'
Patronising descriptions of how exponentials work, or pointless examples of basic ...more
West's early papers, co-authored with James Brown and Brian Enquist, have spawned a myriad of works, ...more
Scaling is an important concept, and I'm glad West ...more
Complexity scientists. If I have a criticism, it was too long
West applies his physicist's mind, trained in using mathematics to discern patterns hidden in nature, to reveal truths never-expected about biology, urban planning, and economics. Along the way, he addresses some basic maths (like power laws, network theory, fractal geometry and dimensionality, and preferential attachment) for the lay reader.
But what's ...more
Geoffrey West is a theoretical physicist and former president of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. Ten or fifteen years ago he began to wonder whether the mathematics of his ...more
0. Why can't we have a real life Godzilla? The weight increase proportionately with size but the support increases less quickly with size. So a Godzilla will collapse under his own weight.
1. Why do ...more
I have struggled to finish.
Moreover, the book will need serious revision for the next editions: prof. West have mistaken RPM to express number of turn, efficiency for productivity, productivity for production, and so on. Also some basic concepts were reshaped to support the claimed hidden simple proportions: risk of death is not constant along the life whether the subject is a turtle or a human being; ...more
It is really hard to concisely summarize this work, but I'll give it a shot, and I don't promise that my explanations are accurate. Certain aspects of biological organisms seem to follow mathematical laws. For instance with ...more
West’s general approach that led to this book was ...more
The main issue was that I was ...more